Interview: Lenovo's Jay Parker Talks PC+ Strategy, Sees Storage and Phones in USA's Future

We go one-on-one with Lenovo’s North American president to find out the secret to the company’s current success and what’s on tap for the future. By Matt Whitlock

Mobile form factors running Android and iOS have become the focal point for both consumers and business, eating into the PC's market share, which experienced a 15 percent downfall in the first quarter of 2013. It's a trend that rippled across all the PC OEMs... except one. Lenovo managed to grow its business nearly 14 percent for the same period, which flies in the face of the rest of the industry.

Lenovo's North American President, Jay Parker, has been with Lenovo for six years, managing operations for North America and leading transactional business for the channel before taking over as lead for North America. In this interview, we try to get to the bottom of Lenovo's success, its future strategy, market opportunities, and much more.

Matt Whitlock (ChannelPro SMB): Let's talk about the big picture at Lenovo right now. A lot of what I hear coming out of Lenovo is that it's a company on the cutting edge, but without forgetting the past. What is Lenovo's vision for the future of computing as a whole? Where do you see the industry going?

Jay Parker (Lenovo): If it helps, I'll tell you that we're still strong believers in the traditional PC. We're investing a lot in that, and that is where all of our business and our momentum comes from right now. The first piece is we're ultimately committed to that and I would say that, as funny as it sounds, that's perhaps unique in our business right now.

But we also understand that there's a transition happening, especially to more mobile devices, whether that be tablet or smartphones, and we'd ultimately need to win in that space in addition to the PC space. That's where we're going as a company and spending a lot of our time and energy right now.

MW: As far as business sales are concerned, do you see a lot of uptake in the smart device category or are you still seeing a lot of traditional devices being sold?

JP: It's interesting. Right now, from an IT and procurement perspective, the overwhelming majority is still PC's as we've known them over the last several years.

MW: But Jay, the PC is dead. [said sarcastically]

JP: Not true. [laughs] So that's what most of the buying is right now. I would say there is a lot of investigation, there's a lot of new applications that companies are developing, a lot of curiosity, and the start of purchases in the more mobile space.

But, the other unique trend is this "bring your own device" [BYOD] trend where the end user now has more say so in what's brought into the business environment than they ever have in the past, and I think the IT managers are having to cope with that a little bit. It's an interesting little hybrid and transition period that we're seeing right now.

MW: Do you think BYOD is good for business in general or do you think that is the right strategy for businesses to adopt?

I believe we'll see it find a happy medium at some point. Do I think that every business, at some point in the future, is going to give a stipend to their end user and have them buy anything they want and bring it in? No. I don't believe that will happen. I believe that will not be cost effective or efficient for the companies that have to deal with it, especially the support aspects of it.

But where I see this morphing to is whereas before the end user had no say so. They got a fleet car, so to speak, no matter their preference. I think now you'll see more choice, but it will be a limited choice. I think those choices will be at least partially dictated by what the end user and the business functions are demanding, and that did not exist before.

MW: So, you think all these offices are going to have to have some kind of BYOD policy or strategy going forward?

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About the Author

Matt Whitlock is online director and technical editor for ChannelProSMB.com.